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Comment & Response
May 24/31, 2016

Pimping as a Practice in Medical Education—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • 2Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2016;315(20):2236-2237. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1580

In Reply Pimping in medical education, as both a term and an activity, has long been a subject of controversy.1,2 Pimping often polarizes physicians and medical educators into 2 opposing camps; those who think that pimping is a time-honored tool in clinical training and those who think it is a harmful vestige of the past that should be retired to the medical education museum.2 Ms Crosby provides an outsider’s view of pimping, finding the practice both “startling and demeaning” and comparing it to “hazing.” She suggests that “students learn best when they have the emotional support of their teachers and peers.” We agree. Our Viewpoint was motivated not as a defense of pimping, but rather as a call to action to develop more evidence either for or against it. Specifically, although Crosby argues that pimping hinders students from reaching their full potential, the opposite may also be true. The pressurized environment cultivated by pimping may prepare medical students for the stress of making life and death decisions; therefore, the benefit of this educational modality may be unique to the medical profession.3